If you are lover a books and a person who stacks them high on shelves, you know of the problem of access. Either you need to pull up step stool or  wobbly chair (pain in the neck), or to have one of those stylish sliding book ladders that take up a lot of space both real and visual.

We really like the idea of Karen King’s Higher Ground, a tall shelf with a built-in ladder.

When you’re ready to climb, simply pull on the front of the ladder to reveal its steps. Closed, the rungs sit flush to the bookshelf.


You can use the ladder to sit on when you’re looking up something…


Although we’re not crazy about the King’s rather clunky design, we think the idea’s an interesting one. As a DIY, the challenge would be to find the right hinge mechanism. It could conceivably applied a variety of bookshelf iterations, materials and styles. Or you can just order it from Ideacious for $2000.

via My Modern Met

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5 replies on “Good Idea: Bookshelf with a Built-In Ladder

  1. I don’t know if I agree with you about the “clunky” design comment. When I looked at the pictures I felt the bookshelf/ladder was solid and wouldn’t tip over or dump me if I started to climb. It also really suits the space it is shown in. Would it fit in everyone’s apartment/house? No, but it doesn’t have to.

  2. I own a condo in Bellingham with a ladder that provides access to a small loft over a closet. This bookshelf idea would make that ladder multi-functional. Love the idea. Thanks!

  3. I agree with both of you: in this setting I don’t think it reads as clunky, but on its own, yeah, it’d definitely be a bit on the heavy side, say in a 600 sqft studio. That said, as an industrial/low budget furnishing, clunky would work fine: build it with Home Depot 2x lumber (as it appears here) and get it done inexpensively. For a more tony look, hardwood such as maple, oak, ash, chestnut (good luck finding chestnut, but it’d be beautiful if you found some reclaimed lumber), even poplar (if painted is the goal), would serve handsomely in lighter dimensions (nominally 1″, actually ¾”). The hardware issue intrigues me, I’m thinking maybe garage door track (you’d need only 24″ or so, so maybe some friends want the same shelves?) and rollers, super strong and capable of handling a few hundred pounds, available at HD, Lowe’s many suburban hardware stores, would fit the bill. For city dwellers availability might be an issue, or an excuse to take a trip to the ‘burbs. If you have the tools, with 2x lumber, this is easily just a $100 bookshelf (OK maybe $125-140). Fasten it to the wall (preferably into studs but toggle bolts into plaster/lath walls would be fine) and you’d have one heck of a solid mini-library. Cheaper and cooler than even IKEA, and the concept is great. What’s not to like about library ladders?

  4. Tim, WOW. Thanks so much for your thoughts on HOW and what to think about when doing-it-yourself. Much appreciated!

  5. Ah yes: give that ladder double-duty! If you incorporate the bookshelf/ladder, please send pictures.

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